Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs

Edward G. Smith, Benjamin C.C. Hume, Patrice Delaney, Jörg Wiedenmann, John Burt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Corals in the Arabian/Persian Gulf (PAG) survive extreme sea temperatures (summer mean: >34C), and it is unclear whether these corals have genetically adapted or physiologically acclimated to these conditions. In order to elucidate the processes involved in the thermal tolerance of PAG corals, it is essential to understand the connectivity between reefs within and outside of the PAG. To this end, this study set out to investigate the genetic structure of the coral, Platygyra daedalea, and its symbiotic algae in the PAG and neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Using nuclear markers (the ITS region and an intron of the Pax-C gene), this study demonstrates genetic divergence of P. daedalea on reefs within the thermally extreme PAG compared with those in the neighbouring Gulf of Oman. Isolation by distance of P. daedalea was supported by the ITS dataset but not the Pax-C intron. In addition, the symbiont community within the PAG was dominated by C3 symbionts, while the purportedly thermotolerant clade D was extremely rare and was common only at sites outside of the PAG. Analysis of the psbAncr indicates that the C3 variant hosted by P. daedalea in the PAG belongs to the newly described species, Symbiodinium thermophilum. The structuring of the coral and symbiont populations suggests that both partners of the symbiosis may contribute to the high bleaching thresholds of PAG corals. While limited gene flow has likely played a role in local adaptation within the PAG, it also indicates limited potential for natural export of thermal tolerance traits to reefs elsewhere in the Indian Ocean threatened by climate change.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numbere0180169
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume12
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

    Fingerprint

    Indian Ocean
    Anthozoa
    Symbiodinium
    Persian Gulf
    Reefs
    Symbiosis
    Genetic Structures
    symbiosis
    corals
    reefs
    Daedalea
    Introns
    Genes
    Algae
    Bleaching
    Climate change
    symbionts
    Oman
    heat tolerance
    algae

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

    Cite this

    Smith, E. G., Hume, B. C. C., Delaney, P., Wiedenmann, J., & Burt, J. (2017). Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs. PLoS One, 12(6), [e0180169]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180169

    Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs. / Smith, Edward G.; Hume, Benjamin C.C.; Delaney, Patrice; Wiedenmann, Jörg; Burt, John.

    In: PLoS One, Vol. 12, No. 6, e0180169, 01.06.2017.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Smith, EG, Hume, BCC, Delaney, P, Wiedenmann, J & Burt, J 2017, 'Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs', PLoS One, vol. 12, no. 6, e0180169. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180169
    Smith, Edward G. ; Hume, Benjamin C.C. ; Delaney, Patrice ; Wiedenmann, Jörg ; Burt, John. / Genetic structure of coral-Symbiodinium symbioses on the world’s warmest reefs. In: PLoS One. 2017 ; Vol. 12, No. 6.
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